Jonathan A. Allan (University of Toronto): The Fetish Commodity of Virginity in Popular Romance Novels
Karl Marx in the first volume of Capital writes: “a commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing.” Taking this as a given, this paper will move to position virginity as a commodity – given it is an “extremely obvious, trivial thing” in romance novels – and speak to the fetishisation of the commodity in popular romance.
Jonathan A. Allan is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. His dissertation, The Sexual Scripture: A Study of Male Virginity in Romance, considers the role of the male virgin/virgin hero in romance novels, especially popular romance. Additionally, he is currently preparing a co-authored book on the Twilight Saga and continues research on monstrosity, literary theory, and Latin American literature. His research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Amanda K. Allen (Eastern Michigan Univeristy): Charm the Boys, Win the Girls: Power Struggles in Mary Stolz’s Cold War Adolescent Girl Romance Novels
This paper focuses on Mary Stolz’s 1950s adolescent girl romance novels. In these novels, the romance plot masks complex female power struggles within an adolescent social hierarchy. Girls manipulate power through “boy capital:” a girl’s ability to date—that is, to accumulate—multiple dominant-class boys. The more boys who are willing to take a girl to the malt shop, the more dominant a girl becomes within the social hierarchy. Her manipulations are ultimately revealed—and rewarded—in her crowning as Prom Queen, when (following Luce Irigaray) she is no longer a commodity passed between men, but instead enacts her own possessing.
Amanda K. Allen is an Assistant Professor of Children’s Literature at Eastern Michigan University. Her current project explores American Cold War adolescent girl novels (1942-1967) in relation to the consumer-based and deeply-classed adolescence that accompanied their publication. She examines these texts in conjunction with their culture of production and distribution, focusing on the relationships between editors, librarians, and critics. As gendered as the culture that produced them, these texts provide evidence of a unique female society, silently operating under patriarchy, in which females (characters and producers/ distributors) networked with each other to create their own semi-autonomous community.
Len Barot/Radclyffe (Author, editor, publisher, Bold Stroke Books): Queering the Alpha
This paper maps the ways in which contemporary female heroes in the sub-genres of lesbian intrigue and paranormal romances have adapted the characteristics of the alpha male of traditional heterosexual romance—the locus of both sex and power.
Len Barot is the founder and president of Bold Strokes Books, an independent LGBTQ publisher. Under the pseudonym “Radclyffe,” she has published over thirty-five romance and romantic intrigue novels as well as dozens of short stories, has edited numerous romance and erotica anthologies, and, writing as L.L. Raand, has authored a paranormal romance series,The Midnight Hunters. She is a seven-time Lambda Literary Award finalist in romance, mystery, and erotica, and two-time winner in romance and erotica.
Nancy Down (Bowling Green State University): “Love in the Stacks: Popular Romance Collection Development Practices in University Libraries”
See panel description below.
Nancy Down is Head of the Browne Popular Culture Library and Chair of Archival Collections and Branches at Bowling Green State University. She has worked at BGSU for 20 years, the last 13 in the Browne Popular Culture Library. She has an MLS from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Drew University. She has given numerous presentations on popular culture topics, including romances, cookbooks, and zines.
Marilyn Dunn (Schlesinger Library, Harvard University): “Love in the Stacks: Popular Romance Collection Development Practices in University Libraries”
See panel description below.
Marilyn Dunn is Executive Director of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University and Librarian for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Dunn completed a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., followed by a master’s degree in library and information science from Simmons College in Boston, Mass. She later earned a master’s in English literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. At Harvard she serves on the University Library Council and chairs the Manuscript and Archives Standing Committee.
Sarah S. G. Frantz (Fayetteville State University): The Rapist Hero and the Female Imagination
This paper will examine the creation in the 1970s of the much despised rapist hero in Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower (1972) and Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage Love (1974), positing the rapist hero as a historically-specific, nationally-situated response to the social upheaval in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He presents, in fact, as sharp a critique of the dangers of patriarchy as that offered by the Second Wave feminist movement, but a wildly divergent response to and negotiation with those dangers.
Sarah S. G. Frantz is Assistant Professor of English at Fayetteville State University, NC. She has published academic articles on Jane Austen, J.R. Ward, Suzanne Brockmann, and contemporary popular romance fiction. She is the 2008-2009 recipient of the RWA’s Academic Research Grant and is President of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance. She has co-edited (with Katharina Rennhak) Women Constructing Men: Female Authors Write Their Male Character, 1750-2000 and (with Eric Murphy Selinger) New Perspectives on Popular Romance Fiction (McFarland, forthcoming).
Crystal Goldman (San Jose State University): “Love in the Stacks: Popular Romance Collection Development Practices in University Libraries”
See panel description below.
Crystal Goldman is an instruction and reference librarian at San Jose State University in California. She serves as the library liaison to the departments of Communication Studies, Social Work, Political Science and Public Administration. In 2004, she received her MLS from Indiana University. She has presented on multiple popular romance topics, including the rise of the erotic romance genre, the effect of market trends on authors’ careers, and the influence of online romance writer forums.
An Goris (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven): Rape as a Trope in the Work of Nora Roberts
This paper analyzes the representation of rape in the oeuvre of Nora Roberts and contrasts it with the claims Janice Radway (1984) makes about rape in romance novels. It argues that Roberts’ representation of rape as a horrific, traumatizing act that can never be part of the romance courtship differs in fundamental ways from the one Radway assumes to be typical of the popular romance novel. This difference, the paper suggests, points towards important shifts in both the practices of the popular romance genre and the scholarly study thereof.
An Goris is a graduate student at KULeuven (Belgium) where is writing a PhD about popular romance author Nora Roberts. Her research interests include the popular romance novel, literary theory (particularly concerning genre and authorship), narratology and translation studies. An has spent time at DePaul University (Chicago, 2009-2010) as a Fulbright visiting scholar and was the Chair of the 2010 IASPR conference in Brussels.
Ann Herendeen (Romance Author): The Upper-Class Bisexual Man as Romantic Hero: The ‘Top’ in the Social Structure and in the Bedroom
This paper will explore the connection between my heroes’ social class and wealth and their sexual orientation. Specifically, I will describe the correlation in my m/m/f romantic universe (and Jane Austen’s) between the upper-class, wealthy, alpha-male hero and the subset of bisexual men who enjoy the dominant position with their partners, male and female (the “Anything-That-Moves” orientation).
Ann Herendeen is the author of Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander (2008), an m/m/f bisexual Regency romance; and Pride/Prejudice (2010), a bisexual version of Jane’s classic novel, both published by HarperCollins. She is working on her third novel. She has a B.A. with High Honors in English from Princeton University and works part time as a cataloger in the library at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Betty Kaklamanidou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki): The Absence of Sex and Money in the Contemporary Rom Com. Fact or Fiction?
One of the most stable conventions of the romantic comedy universe is that its world is a utopian space where money is almost never an issue. In addition, even though these narratives are all about romance, and the creation of the perfect nuclear family, they are strangely devoid of sex scenes and/or even kissing scenes. This paper will therefore examine the absence of sex and the connection between power and money in the contemporary rom com with a view to determining the ways these popular culture narratives carefully promote and perpetuate the idea of romantic love, which is in itself a construction created by man in the 11th century. Based on genre and feminist theory, and close textual analysis, I intend to show how these seemingly “benign” narratives take sex, power and financial status for granted, and at the same time reverse that belief by supporting the idea that it is financial security and sex that is the basis of true romance.
Betty Kaklamanidou is lecturer in Film History and Theory at the Film Studies Department at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She is the author of two books in Greek (When Film Met Literature, 2006 and Introduction to the Hollywood Romantic Comedy, 2007) and the co-editor of Film Superheroes and Superheroines in the New Millennium (USA: McFarland, forthcoming). Her fields of study include film and politics, adaptation theory, genre and gender, and contemporary Greek cinema.
Jayashree Kamble (University of Minnesota): Temptation and the Big Apple: Bollywood romance goes West in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
The 2006 romantic Hindi drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (Never Say Goodbye) is set in New York, and the city acts as the classic urban space in cinema that provides anonymity to characters. But the movie’s transgressive romance could have been set in any sprawling Indian metropolis; New York provides not just the necessary urban space but a safe distance from which one can explore the power dynamics within marriage as it exists in the home country—both arranged marriage as well as the “love marriage” that has traditionally been the teleology of romance movies in India.
Jayashree Kamble is interested in understanding how romance narratives refract key political and economic dilemmas. She is currently working on an article on whiteness as a constitutive category in genre romance. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota’s English department in 2008 for her dissertation “Uncovering and Recovering the Popular Romance Novel.” She is revising it for publication while also expanding her analytical focus to other media, particularly cinema.
Jennifer Kloester (University of Melbourne, Australia): Creating a Genre: The Power of Georgette Heyer’s Regency Novels
As the originator of the Regency Romance novel Georgette Heyer wields an extraordinary influence over the genre. Her novels set the standard for research, writing and the re-creation of the period. Her authorial power is such that her fictional representations frequently supersede their historical origins. Such authorial power is rare. This paper will examine Heyer’s methodology, her attitude to romance and the role of money, sex and power in her writing life.
Jennifer Kloester first read Georgette Heyer’s novels while living in the jungle in Papua New Guinea and re-read them while living in the desert in Bahrain. In 2004 Jennifer completed a Doctorate on Georgette Heyer and her Regency Novels. She has written extensively about Heyer, the Regency and history in fiction. She is the author of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller to be published by Random House in October 2011.
Susan M. Kroeg (Eastern Kentucky University): Regency World-Building, History, and the End(s) of Romance
Drawing on the science fiction/fantasy concept of world-building (the creation of a highly-detailed secondary “world” with its own internally consistent set of customs, values, and ideologies) this essay explores Regency romance as an empowering act of historical imagination, one which allows writers and readers to negotiate and interrogate ideas about history, socioeconomic class, sexuality, and even genre.
Susan Kroeg is Professor of English and Graduate Program Coordinator at Eastern Kentucky University. Her teaching, research, presentations, and publications focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British women’s literature, a choice partly inspired by her long-term interest in popular historical romance.
Linda Lee (University of Pennsylvania): The Illusion of Choice: Problematizing Predestined Love in Paranormal Romance
One true love is an enduring motif of popular romance, and it is often exaggerated in paranormal romances, where “fated” lovers transcend the boundaries of time, space, and species. This trope has generated backlash among readers, however, especially in more erotic series, where sex seems to replace romance. This paper considers the conventions of such predestined love, with specific consideration of how some authors have recently tried to subvert fate with an illusion of choice.
Linda J. Lee is a Ph.D. student in Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, and she holds an M.A. in Folklore from the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation research focuses on animal (monster) bridegrooms in contemporary media. Her other research interests include gender and folk narrative; women’s popular fiction; popular culture transformations of folklore; witchcraft legends, beliefs, and traditions; heritage, tourism, and regional identity; and Italian and Italian-American popular traditions.
Su-hsen Liu (National Taiwan Normal University): Modern Gothic Romance and its Translation in Taiwan ─ A Case Study of the Chinese Translation of Mistress of Mellyn
Mistress of Mellyn, a classic modern Gothic by Victoria Holt, was first translated into Taiwan in 1961. It was an immediate hit and paved the way for more translation of Holt’s works to come. This paper will trace its translation history in Taiwan, locate the context of its reception and try to explain its long term popularity from 60-80s—as well as its gradually fading out of the reading market in the 90s in an alien terrain.
Su-hsen Liu is a Ph. D. student in Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation in National Taiwan Normal University. She is currently working on her thesis: “The Translation of Romances in Taiwan since 1960. “ She was a part-time translator of romances from English into Chinese from 1985-2007. She finished her college education in Taiwan and received her M.A. degree in the U.S.A., majoring in English Literature. She also teaches English in Taiwan.
Antonia Losano (Middlebury College): Value for Virtue in Multiple-Romance Narrative Romance
This talk will explore class dynamics and economic hierarchies in mainstream heterosexual American romance fiction, focusing on narratives which—like the foundational Pride and Prejudice—feature multiple love plots within a single story (or series). How does the dispersal of financial worth relate in these texts to the heroine’s perceived individual or her actual financial worth? Does the financial status of the hero matter differently and signify differently in an era when the heroines all have jobs of some sort? By looking at various works with contemporary settings by Nora Roberts, Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, I wish to explore the ways in which the specific financial “dénouement” of the multi-plot romance novel can be interpreted as a symbolic depiction of the heroine’s worth—itself a conflicted ideological term which I hope this discussion will help unravel.
Antonia Losano is Associate Professor of English and American Literatures at Middlebury College in Vermont, where she teaches 19th century literature, literary theory, and women’s studies. Her scholarly work focuses on women’s literature and gender studies; her publications include a monograph, The Woman Painter in Victorian Literature, and articles on topics ranging from exercise videos to Virginia Woolf. She is currently at work on a study of the representation of animals in Romance fiction.
Katherine E. Lynch (SUNY Rockland): One Small Step for Romance: The Evolution of the Queer Female Hero
This paper will trace the evolution of the queer romantic heroine in print, television, and film. Within the past decade, the rise of the queer female hero as a viable love interest reflects the rapidly changing landscape of sexual identity politics in early twenty-first century America.
Dr. Katherine E. Lynch teaches English literature and composition at SUNY Rockland, where she also serves as the Director of the Writing Center. Under the pseudonym Nell Stark, she has published two standalone romances, Running with the Wind (2007) and Homecoming (2008), with Bold Strokes Books. She is in the process of co-authoring (with Trinity Tam) a four-book paranormal romance series. everafter (2009) won a Golden Crown Literary Society award in the paranormal romance category, and was named the “Best Lesbian Paranormal/Horror” novel in the 2010 Rainbow Awards competition. nevermore was published in October of 2010, and will be followed by nightrise (August 2011), and sunfall (April 2012).
Elena Oliete-Aldea (University of Zaragoza, Spain): Greed is Good, but Love is Better: the Influence of Economy on Romance in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street Films
“I once said ‘Greed is good’. Now it seems it’s legal”. The twist to Gordon Gekko’s words in Wall Street‘s 2010 sequel signals a major change in socio-economic relationships during the last decades in the United States. In Oliver Stone’s 1987 film, the villain’s greed was finally punished by American justice. Two decades later, Money Never Sleeps depicts an unstable society, where legal institutions seem to be overwhelmed. Consequently, people, afraid of losing both their possessions and social identity, desperately look for a “home”, the place where long-term love relationships provide security and stability for the individual. Paradoxically, marriage has become a highly unstable bond; as a result, marital happiness only seems to materialize in nostalgic happy endings on screen fictions, a fact Stone seems to ironically refer to at the end of his last movie. My purpose, therefore, is to analyze how the socio-economic changes of the last decades have influenced the portrayal of romance on Wall Street films.
Elena Oliete-Aldea is lecturer at the Department of English Studies of the University of Zaragoza. In 2009, she completed her PhD thesis on cinematographic representations of identity and inter-ethnic romance in British cinema. She currently teaches Business English at the Faculty of Business and Economics and participates in several projects on teaching innovation. Her research centers on film and cultural studies, and she is a member of research groups on cinema, cultural studies and business communication.
Beatriz Oria (University of Zaragoza, Spain): Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend: The Representation of Romantic Love In Sex and the City
The basic premise of Sex and the City revolved around the turbulent love lives of its four female protagonists in the high-flying social circles of turn-of-the-century New York. Despite its socio-economic elitism, the show managed to strike a chord with a broad audience thanks to its ability to capture its zeitgeist in the intimate realm: Sex and the City offered a complex view of modern relationships filtered through a postfeminist sensibility. This paper argues that the show’s generally cynical view of love actually betrays a deep wish to believe in the possibility of old-fashioned, unrestrained romance. However, this romantic utopia is largely dependent on economic factors. This paper uses sociological theories on the contemporary tendency towards the romanticization of love (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 1995) in order to explore the influence of Sex and the City’s consumerist ethos on its representation of romance.
Beatriz Oria is a Junior Lecturer at the Department of English, University of Zaragoza (Spain), where she teaches film analysis. She is a member of a research group on cinema and cultural studies. Her research focuses on US film genres, and more specifically, on contemporary romantic comedy. Her PhD dissertation analyses HBO’s TV series Sex and the City from a generic perspective.
Hannah Priest (University of Manchester, UK): ‘Hit Cost a Thousand Pound and Mar’: Love, Sex and Wealth in the Fourteenth-Century Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle
This paper will offer some brief contextualization and discussion of the generic classification of ‘popular romance’ as it applies to medieval texts, before exploring Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle, a Middle English romance composed in the fourteenth century. As Cory Rushton argues, Gawain, of all the Arthurian heroes, has a ‘notorious propensity for getting married’ and, thus, sexual and romantic love are integral to the Gawain romances. In this text, the gigantic Carl of Carlisle presents Gawain with two beautiful and richly dressed women – first his wife, and then his daughter – and the knight engages with sexual relations with both, before falling in love (appropriately) with the daughter. These interactions of love, sex, power, class and wealth suggest a consideration of this text within its specific fourteenth-century societal context, but also a thematic comparison between this narrative and popular romance texts.
Dr. Hannah Priest is an early career researcher currently based at the University of Manchester, UK. She completed her PhD thesis on sex, violence and monsters in late medieval romance in 2009. Her current project is a cultural history of female werewolves, and she has published articles on fairies, werewolves, witches and vampires in medieval and contemporary literature.
Pamela Regis (McDaniel College): The First Silhouette: Following the Money
This paper will analyze the first ten Silhouette Romances. Created in 1980 by New York publisher Simon & Schuster, Silhouette successfully competed with Harlequin Books, published in Canada, before Harlequin purchased Silhouette in 1984. The first ten Silhouettes will provide a window into the American contribution to the romance boom (1972-1990), a period of explosive growth in the genre that brought into being the worldwide romance market we see today.
Pamela Regis is Professor of English at McDaniel College. She has been studying the romance since the 1980s, and is the author of A Natural History of the Romance Novel. She is at work on a history of the American romance from 1742 to the present.
Catherine Roach (University of Alabama): “I Love You,” He Said: The Money Shot in Romance Fiction as Feminist Porn
This paper seeks to unpack a key, climactic narrative moment of the popular romance novel’s “happily-ever-after” ending, wherein the hero declares his love for his beloved. In this moment, I argue we see romance fiction as (1) a type of feminist fantasy space, (2) woman-centered porn, and (3) porn with a telos, or narrative goal, superseding the novels’ actual sex scenes.
Catherine Roach is Professor of New College, an interdisciplinary self-designed major program at The University of Alabama. She works in gender and cultural studies and is the author of Stripping, Sex, and Popular Culture (2007). Her current writing involves a series of articles on the function of the romance narrative in popular culture, as well as a manuscript of historical romance fiction.
Lynda Sandoval (Author): The Queer Heroine as a Re-imagined Reflection
This paper will explore the ways in which queer heroines converge with and diverge from their heterosexual counterparts within the genre of traditional romance by playing the dual role of professionally powerful career woman and romantic love interest.
Lynda Sandoval is the author of thirty-two books for both teens and adults. Her first teen novel, Who’s Your Daddy? (the precursor to Father Knows Best, her debut title for the Bold Strokes Books Soliloquy imprint), was an American Library Association Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, landed on the New York Public Library “Books for the Teen Age” list, won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and was nominated for the prestigious Colorado Book Award for best young adult literature. Lynda’s novels have spent several weeks on the Waldenbooks/Borders Bestsellers list, peaking at #3, and her full body of work has racked up close to forty awards and list placements in the ten years she’s been publishing. She has been featured in publications such as People en Español, Writer’s Digest, the Romance Writers’ Report, The Denver Post Book Review, and Romantic Times.
Eric Selinger (DePaul University): Owning the Romance: Crusie, Phillips, and the “Erotics of Property”
In Romance and the Erotics of Property (1988), Jan Cohn unmasks the love plot of modern romance fiction, revealing its core fascination with the ways that a heroine gets access to money and power while retaining her “economic innocence.” This paper analyzes the far-from-innocent ways that two American romance authors of the 1990s and after, Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Philips, take this unmasking as a compositional challenge, flaunting precisely those desires and power-plays that Cohn says must remain a subtext. Each thus composes self-theorizing texts, owning those issues and reclaiming intellectual ownership of the genre. This talk focuses on two such metafictional novels, Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation (2000) and Phillips’ Natural Born Charmer (2007), whose embrace of the market and of middlebrow aesthetics illuminate the anxieties of distinction that lurk below the surface of Cohn’s (and other early scholars’) critiques of popular romance.
Eric Selinger is Executive Editor of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies (JPRS) and an Associate Professor of English at DePaul University. He is the author of What Is It Then Between Us? Traditions of Love in American Poetry (Cornell UP) and has published extensively on contemporary American poetry; he is co-editor, with Sarah S. G. Frantz, of New Approaches to Popular Romance Fiction (McFarland, forthcoming).
Conversation with Bertrice Small.
This final session of the conference will start with an interview between Bertrice Small and Sarah Frantz about the history of historical romance fiction, but will open up to a Question and Answer session for IASPR audience members.
Bertrice Small was one of the pioneering authors of Avon’s renaissance of historical romances in the 1970s. A New York Times bestselling author, Small is the author of 50 novels: 40 Historical Romances, 6 Fantasy Romances, and 5 Erotic Contemporaries. She has also written 4 erotic novellas. Her novels include THE KADIN (pronounced Kah-deen), and the beloved series “The O’Malley Saga” and “Skye’s Legacy”. Winner of numerous awards for her beloved novels, in 2008 Small was named by Romantic Times a Pioneer of Romance.
Ruth Sternglantz: Where the Wild Things Are: Contemporary Lesbian Romance and the Undomesticated Queer Hero
This paper will argue that while the domestication of dangerous women in traditional romance (going back to the medieval period) was designed to neutralize their power by neutering their dangerous sexuality and thus bringing them in line with societal expectations, in contemporary lesbian romance love enables powerful queer women to embrace every aspect of their identities.
Dr. Ruth Sternglantz has spent over two decades working with words and making books of one sort or another, first as an editorial intern at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, then as an English professor (PhD, NYU), and currently editing queer fiction for Bold Strokes Books. A medievalist by training, Dr. Sternglantz chose that area of study because of its fundamental interdisciplinarity, and maybe a little because of Monty Python. And although she loves everything about old books (except the mold) and continues to write about them, there’s nothing quite like the privilege and responsibility of working with a writer and making new books.
Cecilia Tan (Author, Editor, Publisher): Panelist on “Boundaries and Intersections: Romance, Erotica, and Pornography”
Cecilia Tan is a writer, editor, and sexuality activist. She is the author of Mind Games, The Hot Streak, White Flames, Edge Plays, Black Feathers, The Velderet, and Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords, as well as the Magic University series of paranormal erotic romances. She has the distinction of being perhaps the only writer to have erotic fiction published in both Penthouse and Ms. magazines, as well as in scores of other magazines and anthologies including Asimov’s, Best American Erotica, and Nerve. She is the founder and editor of Circlet Press, publishers of erotic science fiction and fantasy. She is also the Media Relations Director for the New England Leather Alliance (NELA). Learn more at ceciliatan.com.
Marvin J. Taylor (Director, Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University): “Love in the Stacks: Popular Romance Collection Development Practices in University Libraries”
See panel description below.
Marvin J. Taylor is the Director of the Fales Library and Special Collections at NYU. He holds a BA in Comparative Literature and an MLS from Indiana University, where he also studied music at the IU School of Music. Taylor continued his education at NYU, receiving an MA in English, specializing in late-Victorian and Transition period fiction, queer theory, and postmodern literature. He was editor of The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984 (Princeton University Press, 2006). Taylor continues to write on the post-Vietnam downtown New York arts scene, artists’ archives and documentation of post-conceptual art, and the epistemology of libraries and archives.
Angela Toscano (University of Utah): The Limits of Virtue, the Limits of Merit: Power, Privilege & Property in Historical Romance Fiction
Taking Fredric Jameson’s theory that aesthetic choices are driven by an unconscious political ideology, I argue that the problem of male virtue displaced into the past reveals modern anxieties about worth. Virtue is the hero’s ability, either by birth or work, to master the superstructure of their particular ideological system. Though Lisa Kleypas’ heroes have the material signs of virtue, they refuse the ideological superstructure by maintaining a position that opposes both feudal and bourgeois ideals of virtue.
Angela Toscano is a Master’s student in British and American Literature at the University of Utah. She is currently in the final semester of her program and in the process of applying for Ph.D. programs. Her research area of interests revolve around Victorian Literature, Popular Romance, and Queer Theory.
Margaret M. Toscano (University of Utah): Love’s Balance Sheet: Accounting for the Bondage of Desire and the Freedom of Choice in Historical Romance
Popular historical romance creates a paradoxical balance between submission and domination, bondage and freedom because women want reciprocal relationships. This is created narratively through two motifs: first, overwhelming romantic and sexual desire masters both the hero and the heroine, causing them to lose control so they are willing to risk social disapproval and loss of status and money; and second, a critical moment where the heroine has the opportunity to choose her heart’s desire.
Dr. Margaret M. Toscano is an Assistant Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Utah. Her research centers on myth, religion, and gender, in both ancient and modern contexts. She is the co-editor and a chapter contributor to Hell and Its Afterlife: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Ashgate, 2010). Her chapter, “Mormon Morality and Immortality in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series,” appears in Bitten by Twilight: Youth Culture, Media, and the Twilight Saga (Peter Lang, 2010).
“Love in the Stacks: Popular Romance Collection Development Practices in University Libraries” by Crystal Goldman, Nancy Down, Marilyn Dunn, and Marvin J. Taylor
As the field of Popular Romance Studies grows, more emphasis needs to be placed on how and where popular romance scholars gain access to research materials, specifically in regards to university libraries. While there is a growing amount of information available freely on the internet, relying solely on web-based sources can leave gaps in research. Libraries provide access not only to proprietary subscription journals, databases, and books, but also to rare and fragile primary source material in their special collections. This panel will bring to light the various methods with which university libraries handle their core collections in the popular romance genre, and discuss what monetary funds, if any, are being used to accumulate materials, how preservation decisions are made for the collection, and how the materials are classified within the library collections. The question of how to assure ongoing access to resources that are valuable to this field is one that must be acknowledged and addressed as soon as possible, and this panel seeks to open that discussion by presenting current practices and sharing ideas for how best to meet future research needs.